Are you thinking of letting out your flat in Edinburgh for short term holidays or breaks? If this thought has crossed your mind, here are some things that you should consider before making that decision:
If you’re going to be letting the whole flat out for holiday stays, then you will most likely have to apply to the council for planning permission for a material change of use. Your flat will probably be listed as Residential Property. Renting it out, on Airbnb for example, would be classed as Short Term Commercial Leisure. Edinburgh City Council has already taken enforcement action against short term holiday lets in breach of planning. Also one of the other benefits can be that the property might become subject to rates rather than Council Tax and, if Small Business Relief is applied for, you may have no rates to pay.
A short-term holiday let may also be in breach of your mortgage conditions of your loan over the property. Conditions will vary from lender to lender so it is worthwhile to go back over your mortgage conditions and check what they say about change of use or letting. You may wish to get in touch with your lender, if there is any doubt, and possibly renegotiate the terms of the mortgage if necessary. These days, buy-to-let mortgages are a separate entity and involve different conditions and a different application to try to prohibit the use of residential mortgages for this purpose.
Another thing to consider is that you may be in breach of your insurance conditions if you’re using the property for a purpose it isn’t insured for. You’ll need to check your insurance provider to see if you’re covered for this and you may need to change your policy to cover short term letting. This may involve a heavy premium as the risk on the property is increased with allowing non family members to reside in the property.
Wear and Tear
You’ll also have to think about the possibility of damage or “fair wear and tear” to your property. If you’re letting out the whole property rather than just a room, what recourse or remedy do you have if your visitors cause damage? In short term lets, wear and tear can be much higher than a long term residential let. You might want to consider hard wearing furniture or budget for regular replacement and repair of the property.
Short term holiday lets are becoming more popular, but are also becoming increasingly regulated. If you’re thinking of doing a short term let you’ll have a lot to consider and prepare before you welcome your first guest.